Aboriginal Environments Research Centre

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The AERC congratulates Indigenous Graduates

Published: Wednesday, 17 December, 2014

The AERC would like to congratulate two of their Indigenous PhD and RHD students who graduated on December 13, 2014.

Read the full UQ Press Release

Dr Jenine Godwin-Thompson completed her PhD under the supervision of Dr Paul Memmott, Dr Daphne Nash (AERC, School of Architecture)  and Dr Cameron Parsell (ISSR).

Dr Godwin-Thompson's thesis focused on the relationships between Aboriginal health and culturally appropriate housing design in the rural western town of Dajarra (north-west Queensland).

“My findings revealed that past inadequate government policies, combined with Aboriginal people using their domiciliary spaces in different ways from the conventions of western housing, has resulted in inadequate and culturally unresponsive housing,” Ms Godwin-Thompson said. “My thesis revealed how Aboriginal residents are adapting and modifying living spaces in response to their cultural environment, and according their particular worldview to promote their sense of wellbeing.”

Mr Malcolm Connolly’s research into Triodia pungens, a resinous spinifex grass, is set to change the building industry and remote Aboriginal communities.

Malcolm said the sustainability of the grass was a paramount focus for his research. “This type of grass has the potential to be a future bio-resource for the building industry and a resource for remote Aboriginal communities that are likely to benefit from any new sustainable spinifex-harvesting industry,” Mr Connolly said. “In an attempt to examine its sustainability, I conducted fire and harvesting experiments within a spinifex/snappy gum shrubland near Camooweal, north-west Queensland. Spinifex recovers entirely by seedling, but partial removal of hummocks allows spinifex to recover quickly and sustainably, which has important implications for a sustainable spinifex harvesting industry."